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In Loving Memory of
Guy Milford Eley
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GUY MILFORD ELEY EARNS A PURPLE HEART

Written While Attending the University of Arkansas - 1946-1950

This short story opens on a war torn landscape in Germany, where U.S. troops were advancing in an effort to conquer yet another hill, another clearing or another trench, taken from an enemy that had to be defeated - Germany.

As the tank rolled down the winding road of the German hillside, a private said his prayer, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever, Amen.” That day, through some act of fate, a newer replacement from the States had climbed upon the tank where Private Eley usually sat. He was now on the rear left. As the tank neared the German village, mortar fire began to drop all around. The early spring-time soil along the road splattered as the mortars hit the ground. About that time, the tank stopped, and we all knew to jump off. I looked around. The new replacement was slumped over. His fox-hole shovel was splintered and still attached to the pack on his back.

We hit the ditches on the side of the road and began to move up. Rifle fire opened up from the left, and the whoom of the German 88 cannon fire came in close.

We moved up on the left and made darts across the road and hit the sewage-filled ditch on the other side. Several men had been hit and lay moaning. We continued to move up. The protection of a shop-lined street was near ahead and we moved onto there. We dodged in and out of the doorways as we moved on down the street. The street was curved and after a hundred or so yards, we could see the reason for the resistance. The engineers were attempting to put a pontoon bridge across this stream. During all this time, Chief, our Oklahoma Indian medic, ran along the line, passing out aid parcels and helping when he could. The next thing that I knew, someone helped me along the street toward the aid station. “What’s the matter with him?”

“His ear’s bleeding and he’s holding his side. It’s probably a concussion.” “Well, let’s get him back. There’s a jeep leaving in a few minutes.” The long ride in the dark night ended at a village some distance away. This was a confiscated home taken over by the medics, where the wounded were initially taken for emergency treatment and case disposition.

The jeep finally stopped. Someone said, “Okay, bring him in here. Let’s give him a bath and then we can look at him.” That night there was a bed to sleep on. The next day the one in charge filled out the papers and said, “That ear needs some tending to, and he’s got some internal injuries. He’s going back to the hospital.”

As they carried the stretchers, four of the wounded were put in the ambulance. Each one of us earned distinctive recognition from our country - The Purple Heart. Our Country knew of our doing and recognized our effort and sacrifice.




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